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    Man of Steel Speeds to $21 Million Box-Office Debut; Superman Flick's Opening Day Looking "Staggering"

    Henry Cavill, Man of Steel Warner Bros.

    Man of Steel soared to an estimated $21 million start in Thursday-night and Friday-midnight screenings, and was running ahead of studio box-office projections.

    With opening day now in full swing, the Henry Cavill-led Superman reboot is doing "staggering" business, Warner Bros. executive Dan Fellman reported.

    "We're going to have a very, very good day," Fellman said.

    NEWS: Man of Steel's long-term box-office prospects look good (and big)

    Box-office analyst Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations is among those figuring Man of Steel will hit $100 million—at least—at the domestic box office by Sunday; Bock thinks the movie could go as high $115 million-$125 million.

    "I think it's just the movie to see," Bock said Friday.

    Per Warner Bros., Man of Steel grossed $12 million from pre-sold Thursday screenings, and another $9 million from midnight shows.

    The film's midnight number is bigger than the midnight takes put up by the first two Iron Man movies.

    NEWS: Iron Man 3 set its own franchise record at midnight

    Like most superhero adventures, however, Man of Steel was not big enough at midnight to qualify as an all-time night-owl hit, those ranks dominated by the teen-driven Twilight and Harry Potter series.

    If Man of Steel cracks $100 million by the end of the weekend, then it'll be in its own elite company: one of only 25 films to ever do so.

    Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan, the architect of the Dark Knight Batman movies, is the second attempt in recent years to return Superman to big-screen prominence. Superman Returns, featuring Brandon Routh in the hero's cape, opened to a solid $52 million in 2006 en route to a $200 million domestic run that looked unimpressive versus its reputed $270 million budget. Man of Steel was reportedly made for $225 million.    

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